3 Trade deadline moves that would boost Lakers, 2 they must avoid

The Lakers need to upgrade their roster before the Feb. 8 trade deadline.

Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James
Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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Move Lakers must avoid: Acquiring scorer who doesn’t play defense

The Lakers made a massive mistake by trading for Russell Westbrook in the 2021 offseason. They were chasing another star but ignored his fit next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Modern rosters cannot survive with three subpar shooters, especially when one struggles on the defensive end of the floor.

Zach LaVine’s injury changes the calculus, but acquiring someone like him would be the Lakers' biggest mistake. They are middle of the pack in defensive rating and any further slippage will eliminate them from contention. Yes, the LA needs a scorer with offensive punch, but they cannot acquire it at the expense of their defense.

LeBron cannot play lockdown defense on every possession at his age. Austin Reaves and D’Angelo Russell are subpar defenders. The Lakers cannot afford to have another negative on that end of the floor, especially with Jarred Vanderbilt out for a significant stretch.

Finding a two-way contributor is key. The Los Angeles Lakers only have one first-round draft pick to offer. They need a true difference marker if another deep playoff run is on the horizon, but their limited assets make it difficult. It is precisely why they must go all-in for arguably the best player available on the market.